Online greetings card firm Moonpig has confirmed it is going ahead with its stock market debut valuing the group at up to £1.2 billion.

The firm said at least 25% of its share capital will be made available for trading in the initial public offering (IPO), which is set to take place next month.

Investment firms BlackRock and Dragoneer have already signed up for £130 million worth of shares in Moonpig when it lists, at £80 million and £50 million respectively.

Moonpig – backed by Exponent Private Equity Partners, which owns a 41.3% stake – said last week that it was considering the move as it looks to expand and capitalise on the surge in demand for online cards and gifts amid the pandemic.

It comes amid a rush of IPOs as firms look to take advantage of stock market optimism over vaccines, with renowned footwear brand Dr Martens also revealing plans for a possible £3 billion flotation earlier this month.

Moonpig chief executive Nickyl Raithatha said: “As leaders of a market undergoing an accelerating shift online, we’re delighted to bring Moonpig Group to the public market.

“Our data-powered technology platform makes it incredibly easy for our customers to create more special moments for the people they care about.

“As the market-leading platform, with a strong track record, and a huge opportunity to grow, we are confident about our decision to become a publicly traded business.”

Moonpig chairwoman and former WH Smith boss Kate Swann is helping oversee the listing as the company seeks to tap further into a cards and gifts market which is worth £24 billion across the UK, Netherlands and Ireland, and is rapidly switching online.

The firm said only around 10% of card purchases were made online in 2019, which is forecast to double to 20% by 2021.

Moonpig already has 12.2 million customers and sends 46 million cards a year but is trying to position itself as a technology business, using customer data and predictive technology.

Bosses hope harvesting customer data will help remind them of birthdays and cash in on additional gifts.

The firm said the sale of gifts alongside cards – such as flowers, wine and chocolates – is “critical” to the group and is now almost half of the business.

It claims to be among the top five largest florists in the UK, sending out more than 200,000 bouquets of flowers for Mother’s Day.

The IPO comes in the same month that rival Paperchase said it is looking at bringing in administrators due to plunging sales, putting 1,500 jobs at risk.

Moonpig by comparison has benefited from the lockdown, with families and friends turning to gifts and cards to help get through long periods without contact.

The group has a 60% share of the online cards market in the UK and a 65% share in the Netherlands, where it trades as Greetz.

It made underlying earnings of £44.4 million in the year to April 30 on sales of £173.1 million, up 44% year on year.

In the half-year to October 31, it saw sales jump 135% to £155.9 million.

With the proceeds from the float, it aims to invest further in technology and staff, having hired 50 people during lockdown.

The group, which launched 20 years ago, has a team of more than 400 staff across the UK and Netherlands, with an office in London, a technology hub in Manchester and factory in Guernsey.